Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Indiana Mishawaka

Mishawaka, Indiana

Mishawaka was incorporated as a town in 1836 and as a city in 1899.

The town built a water system for fire protection in 1860 by installing a Metzger rotary pump driven by a Leffel turbine wheel at the dam built by the St. Joseph Iron Company in 1835.  This pump provided fire protection to nearby factories, and water was distributed to other hydrants although the timing of this is not certain.  The only record of this pump is an 1872 article about its use during the town's November 5, 1872 fire where George Milburn, president of the Milburn Wagon Company, fell through a loose plank into the race while connecting a hose to the pump near the Martin Furniture Company factory..

John Leffel received a patent for a turbine wheel in 1845 and manufactured them in Springfield, Ohio.  The only references to Metzger pumps are the ones in Mishawaka and another at the Singer Manufacturing Company in South Bend.

The Mishwaka Hydraulic Company was incorporated June 28, 1867, largely by the manufacturers already engaged in using the water power of the river.  This company was providing power to the water works system as late as 1911.

A new water system was completed in 1874 that used another Metzger pump owned by the Ripple Mills that distributed water through 2,000 feet of 6-inch pipe and 500 feet of 4-inch pipe which was put in at a cost of $1,800. 

By 1882 system was delivering water through two miles of cast iron pipe to 15 fire hydrants.  The system was expanded by the Perkins Windmill and Ax Company in 1883 and 1889.  In 1886 water was provided by three Holly rotary pumps and a Holly piston pump in addition to at least one Metzger pump and a steam-driven rotary pump at the Dodge Manufacturing Company.

The Mishawaka Water Works Company was incorporated on September 9, 1890 to "construct water works for the use of the town of Mishawaka, to rent to the town of Mishawaka for an annual rental, and after the payment of a given amount of rent to deed such water works to said town."

The Mishawaka Public Utility Company was incorporated on April 1, 1903 to acquire and expand the water works and electric light plant, and to build a new city hall.

The city sold bold to pay off their debt to the Public Utility Company in 1923 and took over ownership of the water and electric light plants.

Water is supplied by the city of Mishawaka.

1863 Map of St. Joseph Co., Indiana

1872 "Serious Accident to George Milburn," The South-Bend Weekly Tribune, July 6, 1872, Page 3.
While George Milburn, President of the Milburn Wagon Company, at Mishawaka, was superintending the attachment of a hose to the Metzger pump near the Martin factory, on the morning of the fire, he stepped upon a loose plank on the race crossing and was precipitated into the race.  The fall it was feared, at first, has fatally injured him.  An examination by a physician discovered two of his ribs broken and a third fractured.  He also sustained internal injuries.  At present writing he is rapidly recovering and will be able to be about again in a few days.

1874 "Fighting the Fire Fiend," The South Bend Tribune, February 26, 1874 Page 4.
Reference to Metzger pump at Singer Manufacturing Company in South Bend.

1874 "Mishawaka," The South Bend Tribune, May 25, 1874, Page 2. | Part 2 |
The water works just put in here were tested on Saturday with immense success.  Four one-inch streams were thrown 80 feet high, and a 1 inch stream was thrown 185 feet.  The works consist of 2,000 feet of 6-inch pipe and 500 feet of 4-inch pipe which was put in at a cost of $1,800.  The water is forced through these pipes by a Metzger pump owned by the Ripple Mills.

1875 An illustrated historical atlas of St. Joseph co., Indiana. Compiled, drawn & published from personal examinations & surveys by Higgins, Belden & Co. | Also here |

1876 Maps of South Bend and Mishawaka | another copy |

1880 History of St. Joseph County, Indiana, edited by John V. Hadley
Page 792:  In 1872 the great fire destroyed 32 buildings in the business part of town, valued, together with their contents, at over $80,000. New brick buildings immediately arose upon the ruins; and about 24 new stores were opened in the brick blocks thus erected.
Page 796:  Ripple Mills. The Ripple Mills were erected by A. Cass & Co.. who owned them for several years, but recently passed into the hands of J. H. and A. Eberhart, who are doing a large business. They have five run of stones, with a capacity of 225 barrels in 24 hours. They make the best of flour, and have a large trade in the East.
Page 795:  Perkins Windmill and Ax Company. - This establishment manufactures edge tools, pumps, and water tanks; but its principal business is the manufacture of the Perkins windmill, which was invented and patented by P. C. Perkins in 1869. In 1873 there was a joint company formed for its manufacture. They are doing a large business.

1882 Mishawaka, from Engineering News 9:189 (June 10, 1882)
Mishawaka, Indiana, in lat. 41 43 N. long. 86 13' W., is on the St. Joseph River. It was settled about 1800 and incorporated as a town in 1836. Water-works for fire protection only were built in 1860 by the town, taking the supply from the river, which is here dammed for manufacturing purposes by a dam built in 1832, 300 ft. long and 8 ft. high.
A 16 in. Metzger rotary pump, driven by a Leffel turbine wheel, keeps the pipes constantly filled at a low pressure, which is increased in case of fire. There are 2 miles of cast-iron pipe of 8, 6 and 4in. diameter, with 15 fire hydrants and 25 gates.
The population in 1880 was 3,500. The works have cost about $10,000, and the annual expense of maintenance is about $100. They are under the control of the Town Trustees. J. H. Whitson is the President.

1884 "Late Real-Estate Sales," The South Bend Tribune, January 11, 1884, Page 2.
The Mishawaka Hydraulic Co. to the town of Mishawaka, a lot of land east of the site of the old lock on south race, Mishawaka, for water works, $500.

1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Mishawaka, Saint Joseph County, Indiana. March, 1886.
Page 1:  Water Facilities, Holly System of Water Works, 3 Rotary and 1 Double acting Piston Pumps, 3 supplied from River and 1 (at Dodge Mfg Co.) from 9 Driven Wells, Ordinary Pressure 40 lbs, Fire Pressure 100 lbs.  Another steam driven rotary pump connected to the town water system is located adjacent to the engine house of the Dodge Manufacturing Company.
Page 5:  Metzger Force Pump 16" Cylinder double nozzle for attaching hose.  A double plunger force pump for town water supply was located at Perkins Windmill and Axe Company factory.

1888 "Mishawaka," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Mishawaka," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
Built in '73 for fire protection, street and lawn sprinkling, and extended in '83 and '89 by Perkins Windmill & Axe Co.  Engr. P.C. Perkins, Mishawaka.  Prest. P.C. Perkins.  Supt, M.M. Fisher.

1891 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Mishawaka, Saint Joseph County, Indiana. July, 1891.
Sheet 3 shows city water works at corner of Church and Front streets.

1891 "Mishawaka water works," The Bremen Enquirer (Bremen, Indiana), November 20, 1891, Page 5.

1891 "Mishawaka," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Mishawaka, Saint Joseph County, Indiana, February, 1896

1897 "Mishawaka," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1903 An act authorizing any city in this State having a population of more than five thousand three hundred, and less than five thousand eight hundred, as shown by the last preceding United States census, to sell and convey any waterworks plant or electric light plant, heretofore owned and operated by such city, and to lease the same from the purchaser or owner, with or without an option to repurchase the same, or to contract with such purchaser or owner for supplying water or electric light therefrom for such city, and declaring an emergency. February 26, 1903.

1903 "Mishawaka Company Incorporates," The South Bend Tribune, April 2, 1903, Page 1.

1903 "News of Mishawaka," The South Bend Tribune, April 4, 1903, Page 7.
Council decides to sell water and electric plants

1905 "Would Enjoin City," The South Bend Tribune, May 13, 1905, Page 1. | part 2 |
Mishawaka water works transfer in court.

1906 "City Stands to Lose Handsome City Hall," The Indianapolis News, February 6, 1906, Page 4.
Suit to upset Mishawaka Public Utilities Co.

1907 A History of St. Joseph County, Indiana, Volume 1, by Timothy Edward Howard
Page 324:  Mishwaka Hydraulic Company. 
While the dam was built, the races dug and a number of manufacturing plants organized at an early day; yet the greater number of the concerns that have given to Mishawaka its high place as a manufacturing center are of a later date. The most important step taken, perhaps, in giving stability and activity to the Mishawaka manufacturing industries, was the organization. June 28, 1867, of the Mishawaka Hydraulic Company. This company was made up chiefly of the manufacturers already engaged in using the water power of the river. The list of names of the incorporators alone is sufficient to show the importance attached to the proper management and care of the dam, races and other things connected with the use and protection of the invaluable water power, from the beginning regarded as the true source of the prosperity of the town. The incorporators of the Hydraulic Company were:
George Milburn, Ann M. Studebaker, Thomas H. Milburn, Washington J. Browen John S. Ball, David Nottage, Horace B. Martin, Lorenzo W. Martin, George Kuhn, John Kuhn, Anthony Kuhn, Albert Cass, Adolphus Eberhflrt, Palmer C. Perkins, Adoniram B. Judson, Nelson Ferris, William Dawley, Martin K. Lushbaugh, Thomas Costello. Warren Palmer, Joseph Warden and the St. Joseph Iron Company, by Henry G. Niles, trustee.
The subscribed capital of the company was fifty thousand dollars; and the objects stated in the articles of association were to keep up the dam, water power, races, banks and other matters connected with the power, and to sell and dispose of water power to other manufacturers.
Pages 331-:  Mishawaka Water Works Company and Mishawaka Public Utility Company.Two other companies organized by Wallace II. Dodge bore directly on the welfare of the town.
The first of these was the Mishawaka Water Works Company, incorporated September 9, 1890, with a capital of twenty thousand dollars. The incorporators were Wallace H. Dodge. Henry G. Niles and John J. Schindler. The town was in need of a system of water works, but financially unable to build them. The purpose of the organization, as stated in the articles of incorporation, was to "construct water works for the use of the town of Mishawaka, to rent to the town of Mishawaka for an annual rental, and after the payment of a given amount of rent then to deed such water works to said town."
The next step taken to carry out the plan was the organization of the Mishawaka Publie Utility Company, which was incorporated April 1, 1903, with a capital of ten thousand dollars. Carrying out the public character of this work, which was purely in the interests of the public, and without profit to the company, a large number of the most patriotic and public spirited citizens became incorporators, as follows: Martin V. Beiger, James A. Roper, E. Volney Bingham, Frederick G. Eberhart, Jr., Everett G. Eberhart, Manuel M. Fisher, Vincent Bruner, Melville W. Mix, Nicholas Schellinger, Frank R. Eberhart, William B. Hosford, Henry G. Niles, James De Lorenzi, John A. Herzog, Adolph Kamm, William M. Clark, John E. Baker, Edward A. Jernegan, Francis X. Ganser, Charles Endlich, Simon Yenn, John J. Schindler, David A. Shaw, Albert Gaylor and William N. Schindler.

1911 Standard atlas of St. Joseph county, Indiana; including a plat book of the villages, cities and townships of the county; map of the state,
Sheet 42 shows Mishawaka water works at intersection of Church and Front streets.

1911 Thirty-Sixth Annual Report of Department of Geology and Natural Resources, Indiana
Page 488:  Mishawaka The Mishawaka dam is located within the city of Mishawaka. It is the oldest dam on the St. Joseph River. It is built of wood in three sections, and has a total length of 305 feet. It is 9.95 feet high. The backwater from this dam reaches the tail race of the Twin Branch plant. This power is owned by the Mishawaka Hydraulic Company, which sells the power to local manufacturing companies. There are two races leading away frota this dam. The race on the north side leads into the plant of the Mishawaka Rubber Regenerating Company where 600 H. P. is produced on a head of 10 feet. There are six horizontal Trump wheels with a rating of 100 H. P. each. The power is used continuously The race on the south side of the river furnishes water to five plants. The Mishawaka Water Works Company employs 100 H. P. continuously. They have one wheel and a head of 10 feet. The Ripple Milling Company employs 60 H. P. The head is 10 feet and the power is produced on a single wheel. The Mishawaka Plow Company employs 60 II. P. from one wheel under a head of 10 feet. The Perkins Wind mill Company employs 75 H. P. from one wheel under a head of 11 feet. The Mishawaka Woolen Manufacturing Company has four wheels installed. The sizes of these wheels are 66 inches, 61 inches and two 56 inches. The total capacity of these wheels is 700 H. P. under a head of 11 feet.
The total rating of wheels gives an aggregate of 1,595 H. P. This is more power than can be produced during the minimum discharge of the stream. The minimum discharge at this point sometimes reaches 750 second-feet. This discharge would produce 682 H. P. on a fall of 10 feet. During the greater part of the year, however, the discharge is sufficient to produce the rated power at this site.

1923 "Notice of Bond Sale," The South Bend Tribune, March 24, 1923, Page 12.
Proceeds to purchase the water and electric plants of the Mishwaka Public Utility company.

1959 "Mishawaka on the Eve of Conflict," by Ward Baker, Indiana Magazine of History 55(1):25-46 (March 1959)
Page 25, note 3:  "Synopsis of the History of the Mishawaka Dam and the Mishawaka Hydraulic Company," Prepared from the records of the Mishawaka Hydraulic Company, which are in the possession of the Engineer's Office of the United States Rubber Company, Mishawaka, Ind.

2003 "Mishawaka Utilities celebrates 100 Birthday," The South Bend Tribune, April 8, 2003, Page D1. | part 2 |

Records of the Mishakawa City Council from 1845 are held by the University of Notre Dame Archives

2019 Morris A. Pierce